The purpose of decree is to be implemented.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday made to clear to the Centre and the Punjab government that they must ensure completion of Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL)) canal at the earliest, so that its earlier decree is not “flouted” and “dignity of the court” is protected.
A Bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Amitava Roy gave this direction when Haryana urged the court to intervene and ensure that its decree of 2004 is given effect and implemented.
When senior counsel Ram Jethmalani for Punjab submitted that the Centre should call for a meeting of the two States to resolve the issue and arrive at a settlement the Bench said “We don’t stand in the way of settlement. The purpose of decree is to be implemented. Whatever, way you want to do, do it. If you fail to implement we will determine it. We will not allow the decree of this court to be flouted in any manner. How it will be done is the headache of you all (all the parties to the dispute). You (Centre) have to take the burden on your shoulders and protect dignity of the court.”
On November 10, 2016 a 5-judge Constitution Bench held as unconstitutional, the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004 enacted by Punjab to deny water to riparian states of Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, J&K and Delhi and to circumvent an earlier apex court judgment.
The Constitution Bench had passed the judgment while answering a Presidential Reference made on July 22, 2004, after Punjab came out with a legislation to circumvent an earlier apex court judgment of
January 4, 2004, that had ruled that Punjab should honor the 1981 inter-State water treaty agreement to construct, the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal for supply of water to the riparian States.
Senior counsel Jagdeep Dhankar appearing for Haryana government told the court that Punjab had committed contempt of the top court by refusing to implement the November 10, 2016, 5 -judge constitution bench judgment directing the Punjab government to implement the SYL canal work.
But Jethmalani said that the row between the two states was something like a “dispute between two sisters. I want this matter should be resolved by the statesmanship of the Union Government. For God’s sake ask your client (Centre) to do some arbitration,” Jethmalani, told the Solicitor General.
The Bench, however granted time to centre and Punjab to respond to the report of the receiver appointed by the apex court and said the status quo on transfer of lands to farmers would continue.